5.3 Installing XFree86

Before installing XFree86, decide on which version to run. XFree86 3.X is a maintenance branch of XFree86 development. It is very stable, and it supports a huge number of graphics cards. However, no new development is being done on the software. XFree86 4.X is a complete redesign of the system with many new features such as better support for fonts and anti-aliasing. Unfortunately this new architecture requires that the video drivers be rewritten, and some of the older cards that were supported in 3.X are not yet supported in 4.X. As all new developments and support for new graphics cards are done on that branch, XFree86 4.X is now the default version of the X Window System on FreeBSD.

The FreeBSD setup program offers users the opportunity to install and configure XFree86 4.X during installation (covered in Section 2.9.12). To install and run XFree86 3.X, wait until after the base FreeBSD system is installed, and then install XFree86. For example, to build and install XFree86 3.X from the ports collection:

# cd /usr/ports/x11/XFree86
# make all install clean

Alternatively, either version of XFree86 can be installed directly from the FreeBSD binaries provided on the XFree86 web site. A binary package to use with pkg_add(1) tool is also available for XFree86 4.X. When the remote fetching feature of pkg_add(1) is used, the version number of the package must be removed. pkg_add(1) will automatically fetch the latest version of the application. So to fetch and install the package of XFree86 4.X, simply type:

# pkg_add -r XFree86

You can also use the ports collection to install XFree86 4.X, for that you simply need to type the following commands:

# cd /usr/ports/x11/XFree86-4
# make install clean

Note: The examples above will install the complete XFree86 distribution including the servers, clients, fonts etc. Separate packages and ports for different parts of XFree86 4.X are also available.

The rest of this chapter will explain how to configure XFree86, and how to setup a productive desktop environment.

This, and other documents, can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/.

For questions about FreeBSD, read the documentation before contacting <[email protected]>.
For questions about this documentation, e-mail <[email protected]>.